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Is this a sparrowhawk? UK (1 Viewer)

Earnest lad

Well-known member
Were all three pics you took of the bird in the same position and from the same spot?
I was just thinking the white blob that can be seen on this photo appears to coincide with the top-most part of a stem of a plant that is projecting upwards in a "north easterly" direction towards the head of the bird and the white blob almost appears to me to protude in the same direction as if it is the flower of the plant in question.
I could well be very wrong here though.
 
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MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
Were all three pics you took of the bird in the same position and from the same spot?
I was just thinking the white blob that can be seen on this photo appears to coincide with the top-most part of a stem of a plant that is projecting upwards in a "north easterly" direction towards the head of the bird and the white blob almost appears to me to protude in the same direction as if it is the flower of the plant in question.
I could well be very wrong here though.

I agree. There are several other blobs of the same shape and colour in the photo. I think it has nothing to do with the bird, and that if the Sparrowhawk does have such a pattern sometimes (which I've never seen, though mostly I see them flying, so I wouldn't) it would be less strong than this.
 

phil baber

artist for birds
Europe
Were all three pics you took of the bird in the same position and from the same spot?
I was just thinking the white blob that can be seen on this photo appears to coincide with the top-most part of a stem of a plant that is projecting upwards in a "north easterly" direction towards the head of the bird and the white blob almost appears to me to protude in the same direction as if it is the flower of the plant in question.
I could well be very wrong here though.

Absolutely. IMHO the white patch is a blurred seed head in front of the nape. Other examples of said are visible elsewhere in the shot. FWIW one can actually see the stem leading up to it. Think this should be on a Botany Forum... ;)
 

ChrisKten

It's true, I quite like Pigeons
I agree. There are several other blobs of the same shape and colour in the photo. I think it has nothing to do with the bird, and that if the Sparrowhawk does have such a pattern sometimes (which I've never seen, though mostly I see them flying, so I wouldn't) it would be less strong than this.

As has been said - the white nape patch isn't unusual on adults, especially young males... you just need to get close-up views of the rear of the bird with it's head twisted to show the white patch.

Rather than search through a few thousand of my own pics, here's one from an image search on Google:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/melelloyd/24105660341/in/dateposted-public/
 

P.Sunesen

Well-known member
As has been said - the white nape patch isn't unusual on adults, especially young males... you just need to get close-up views of the rear of the bird with it's head twisted to show the white patch.

Rather than search through a few thousand of my own pics, here's one from an image search on Google:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/melelloyd/24105660341/in/dateposted-public/

Brilliant photos showing what we've been discussing:t:

The white nape patch is present on all Sparrowhawks, although adults will need to raise their relevant feathers for this to become visible, restricted as it is to the basal parts of the feathers.
However, it's absolutely impossible to call more than two age groups (juvenile and adults) in the field, and some of the least important field marks to study in order to do so would be, say, the basal parts of nape feathers, the colour of the bill, and shape of the tertials.

Peter
 

ChrisKten

It's true, I quite like Pigeons
Brilliant photos showing what we've been discussing:t:

The white nape patch is present on all Sparrowhawks, although adults will need to raise their relevant feathers for this to become visible, restricted as it is to the basal parts of the feathers.
However, it's absolutely impossible to call more than two age groups (juvenile and adults) in the field, and some of the least important field marks to study in order to do so would be, say, the basal parts of nape feathers, the colour of the bill, and shape of the tertials.

Peter

I agree, Peter, just juve and adult are distinguishable in the field, the rest is just guessing (which I do a lot ;) ).

(My "young males" comment was suggesting the contrast between the bright new adult plumage and the white is more evident - although, thinking again, the same could be said for any freshly moulted adult male)
 
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tconzemi

Tom
Supporter
Europe
There should be a prize on BF for the best thread of the year, this one definetely a candidate, thanks to Chris and Peter
 

Debbie1905

Well-known member
More pics to help maybe

Hi, just returned to the thread and very interested to see the discussion! At risk of pure embarrassment, I attach the other three photos I took, which are even more blurred than the first, but I think show that this was not a flower or seed head in front of the bird, if that helps at all. In pic 2, the bird has its head turned the other way.
 

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P.Sunesen

Well-known member
Good work Debbie.

Perhaps that's why Peter Gabriel posed a question in my link, insteading of making a solid statement?

Anyway, the nape spot does seem more true to nature (as regards the omnipresent white on the feather bases of adult, as well as juvenile Sparrowhawks) on the new pics, so in the end this thread did have some substance to it.

3:)
 
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MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
Yes, good for you for persevering Debbie. I definitely thought the two things circled in the attached photo were the same thing.
 

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